It’s never too early to talk college football. Never. Even if the calendar say it’s barely summer, fall cannot get here fast enough. So over the next two weeks or so, Kermit the Blog will count down the 10 Easiest Schedules of the 2007 College Football season. We’re aiming for one a day (weekday… generally), but we’re lazy, so it might take longer. Thankfully we’ve got time.
And stop sending me hate mail.
Man, people get testy about this stuff. I’m not even done yet. And if you think you’re clairvoyant, there are much better uses of your time than reading blogs.
But, to maybe stem the flow of “Why isn’t [the team I dislike name here] on this list?” missives, there are a few honorable mentions to be doled out.
And it’d be easy to make a case for any number of other teams to crack the Top 10. And some people have made compelling enough cases that I feel like I might have been “wrong.” But as I stated elsewhere, the criteria were somewhat arbitrary, my decisions were final, and if you don’t like it, you can go here, or here, or here.
The schools that came closest to making my list were Arkansas, Virginia, Clemson, and NC State.
You’ll note that three of these are ACC teams. And I pretty much punted on the ACC. This was a conference that sent Wake Forest to the Orange Bowl as it’s BCS rep last year. The year before that it was a 4-to-be-5-loss FSU team playing in the same game.
Then again, in the middle of last season, one of the Game Day guys called 7-1 Clemson the best 1-loss team in the country. The Tigers responded to that accolade by proceeding to drop four of their last five. Hell, all the had to do was run the ball every play to either CJ Spiller or James Davis and they probably could have won at least three of those. Tommy Bowden could use a remedial course in Obviousness. Or is that beyond the curriculum at Clemson?
NC State seemed like a program in a free fall, then Tom O’Brien leaves a well-stocked BC program to go to Tobacco Road. This makes little sense.
The guys in the FSU chapter of the SCA probably scored more often than the Seminoles’ offense did in ’06. This year the ‘Noles have a new offensive coordinator, but the same mediocre quarterback.
And as for Miami… if my fate ever hinges up on support from Donna Shalala that sounds credible, then I’ve probably screwed up so badly I deserve whatever fate I am destined to receive. Randy Shannon will have a lot of supporters, but that goodwill is going to last about a month if the Canes are below .500 going into October.
Georgia Tech loses maybe the best player in college football in Calvin Johnson. They also lose Reggie Ball. That should be an upgrade no matter who replaces him, but how bad was whoever was already on the bench behind him so that Ball kept playing? D-coordinator Jon Tenuta should keep them in some games. But they’ll put fear into nobody.
The bottom line is: Who the hell knows how good the ACC is going to be in 2007? Two-thirds of the teams could implode, but somebody still has to win the thing. Doesn’t mean they are going to be any good, but it might end up they are very good.
So I reserve the right to re-evaluate the rankings based upon a mid-season ACC report card. Still, conference strength notwithstanding, there are some paltry out of conference match-ups in the ACC. Chief among them:
NC State plays Wofford, Central Florida, East Carolina. The mitigating circumstance is that they do play Louisville.
Virginia plays at Wyoming, Pitt, Middle Tennessee State, and Connecticut.
Clemson plays Louisiana Monroe, Furman, and Central Michigan. In-state SEC rival South Carolina is their only saving grace. If I hadn’t felt compelled to make a point for #10, that slot probably would have gone to either Clemson or Virginia.
As for Arkansas, if you look at their four toughest games—at Tennessee, at LSU, at Alabama, and Auburn at home—they’ll be lucky to go 1-3.
But the rest of the schedule—eight games of it—is pillow soft: Troy, Kentucky, North Texas, UT Chattanooga, Mississippi, Florida International, South Carolina, and Mississippi State.
The toughest of those, South Carolina, they get at home. So 8-0 is not unlikely. Anything less than 7-1 and Houston Nutt is in trouble.
Correction, Houston Nutt is in more trouble.
I wish I could have found a compelling reason to get at least one SEC team on the list. And Arkansas was probably close. Ultimately, I probably took pity on the Hogs and in particular Nutt. He already has people FOIA’ing his cell phone records and trying to decipher his text messaging logs. I couldn’t bring myself to pile on.
Either that or I just didn’t want my inbox flooded by SEC fanboys whining about how tough the conference is week in and week out.
They are probably right, but that doesn’t mean you get a hall pass to scheduling 3 or 4 creampuffs to fill out the schedule. Seems the BCS snub Auburn got a couple of years ago didn’t register much outside of Knoxville and Tuscaloosa.
The Rest of the List